Known shipments of steam coal from eastern Kentucky to power plants within the United States decreased by 34 percent in 2015, from 24.8 to 17.4 million tons. The largest markets for eastern Kentucky coal are traditionally located in the southeast and were led by South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia during the year.
Overall, coal mined in the region was shipped to 15 different states in 2015. Total Kentucky coal deliveries have decreased by an average of 8.9 million tons, or by 14 percent every year since 2005, primarily because of reduced shipments from eastern Kentucky. The Winyah power plant in South Carolina was the single largest consumer of coal from eastern Kentucky in 2015, receiving 1.9 million tons. The Commonwealth’s largest consumer of eastern Kentucky coal in 2015 was the Big Sandy power plant, which has retired its coal burning unit as of May 2015.